Levi was wary, to say in the least.
The fifteen minute walk from the bus stop to Levi’s house wasn’t the worrisome part, of course. The walk was pleasant, with Eren’s delightful chatter filling the air between them. He was good at that; Eren had an undeniably comfortable atmosphere that followed him everywhere, like an old friend you could blurt your thoughts to.
The upsetting part came when they arrived at the two houses.
With two feet planted on the ground, it dawned on Levi that Eren might want to—no, he most definitely will insist on joining Levi in his home. Levi fumbled with his keys and dropped them to the ground. Eren was quicker, and bent down to retrieve them. Levi thanked him and a silence wafted between them.
“I’ll call you tonight?” Levi phrased as a question, though he entirely meant it as a statement.
Eren frowned. “I can’t come inside?”
Levi swallowed thickly. “Right, well I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. I don’t want Carla to find you here and it’ll be a whole thing—“
“My mom’s not home,” Eren nodded a head towards the empty driveway that occupied the front of his house. “And plus, I could totally lie and say I was at Armin’s.”
Eren was the one to unlock Levi’s front door. Levi followed close behind, his breath heavy in his chest and his nerves sending alarms throughout his entire body.
Eren obviously hasn’t step foot in Levi’s house for a few months. The last time he did, well . . .
“Wow, you got a lot of houseplants lately,” Eren said, taking his shoes off. “These weren’t here before.”
Levi felt self conscious at that.
“Yeah, I’ve been bored with the weather getting colder. Not a lot of space for gardening and all,” Levi remarked, shrugging off his jacket. He felt an unfamiliar tug and glared over his shoulder.
Levi blushed when he saw Eren helping him with his jacket. He opened his mouth to shoo away Eren, telling him that it was just a sprained wrist, not a life debilitating injury, but instead, he uttered a simple, “Thank you.”
“Yep!” Eren replied, hanging Levi’s jacket onto the coatrack next to them. He tapped his fingers against Levi’s leather book bag, the rhythm sounding akin to water droplets on a roof.
Levi narrowed his eyes. “What.”
“What?” Eren asked innocently.
“So you’re . . . not going to jump my bones today?” Levi asked, his body still tense from nerves.
Eren laughed, making the older man shrink. “Huh? I’m not—you’re ridiculous, Levi. I have manners, you know.”
Levi didn’t believe that. Eren was, in his own words, down bad. The older man wouldn’t put it past him to jump into his pants at the first second he got.
“Okay, great,” Levi shrugged, ignoring Eren’s motives. “Want something to drink?”
“Water, if you don’t mind. Can I sit here and do homework?” Eren motioned to the couch.
Levi was grateful he asked. “Yeah.”
Once in his kitchen, Levi let out a sigh. Mechanically, he poured a glass of water and allowed the silence away from Eren soak into his skin.
It felt surreal, really, to have Eren back again in his home. After their incident months ago, he thought having the brunet in his living room would be something of a distant dream. Eren, as intrusive as he could be, didn’t feel as though he was imposing his presence within these walls. Nor could Levi sense any prior agitation from him, like those early mornings when his mother would drag him here for yard work.
“Here you go,” Levi came back from the kitchen, water in good hand. “I’ll be in my office.”
“Oh, then I’ll come with,” Eren stood, ignoring the water. “Want me to bring your bag?”
Levi shouldn’t reject him. “Okay.”
Eren stood from the sofa but Levi didn’t bother lingering. He hurried down the hall and into the room across from his bedroom, where his home office sat.
Eren made no note of the small changes to this room either, which were small color changes to the wallpaper as well as moving his bookshelf across the room. Instead, he wandered around, cellphone in hand as he observed.
“I don’t have another desk for you,” Levi said, sitting at his desk and scooting himself close to his computer. “The outlet next to the window doesn’t work, so you can use the one next to my desk.”
“Cool,” Eren replied. Easygoing. Casual. Unconcerned. Levi’s gut tightened. Eren was up to something.
The room filled with the inelegant sounds of typing as the two got to work. Levi busied his time poring over the dozens of emails he got from students. When he wasn’t looking over emails, he was grading discussion boards. When he wasn’t grading discussion boards, he was reading reports from his upper level class.
Eren, on the other hand, was typing furiously at something. Levi wasn’t sure what, it could even be for his class for all he knew, but he didn’t want to ask and disrupt his flow.
In these serene moments, Levi felt himself relax. He was comfortable like this; working next to Eren’s body but never speaking. It was a wordless time spent together that Levi found himself thinking of fondly. However, in these work oriented moments, Levi did not notice Eren gradually making his way closer and closer to Levi’s desk to the point where he was practically underneath it.
Levi was busy squinting at an email.
[Jäger, Zeke] Hey Levi! I was just at this local bookstore. It’s a fairly cute place, a little niche if you’re into hippy stuff (which I doubt you are), but they have some great selections. They also have some paperback copies of The Box Man by Kobo Abe. Thrilling piece. I’ll bring you a copy next class.
P.S. If there’ll be no foreseen coffee dates in the future, I take it you’re more of a tea kind of man? Let me know.
Levi scoffed and prepared to move the email to his trash bin, but not before he felt a warm and heavy hand land itself on his thigh.
“Jesus,” Levi jumped, his heart rate accelerating. “You scared me.”
Eren was beside him, staring holes into his desktop screen. His grip was heavy, tight. Suffocating, but not possessive.
“Is that his name?” Eren asked instead, his voice thick.
“The blond guy from your class? Yes. Why?” Levi’s mouth felt dry.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the time to do a whole lot of digging on this Zeke guy. What with the semester starting and Eren in his life, Levi gave it no more than two thoughts. He knew the two must’ve been related, hence the shared last names and family divorce, but there was a small, foolish part of him that wished they were cousins instead of brothers, as he so greatly feared.
“He seems like a dick,” Eren murmured.
God forbid he have both the Jaeger brothers chasing after him.
Levi moved the email to the trash. Regardless, it seemed that Eren had no clue who Zeke was in relation to himself. Since Eren’s father kept his second family a secret from Eren until he was 18 years old, it would have made sense for Eren to not even know or care to know his brother’s name.
Levi wasn’t sure what to do or how to carry this information. Though, he couldn’t even stop to think. Eren moved to the space between Levi’s legs.
“Hey, what’re you—“
Levi felt warm licks of heat race up his groin as he felt Eren slide his fingers up the inside of Levi’s thighs from his knee just to the spot where—
“Eren,” Levi warned, pulling out his chair to glare at the brunet between his legs.
Eren flickered his eyes up at him, and in the most honeyed voice he’d heard from the man, came a simple, “What?”
Damn it. Levi was doomed. This is exactly what he didn’t want—for Eren to propel things forward into something purely physical. Not that he didn’t enjoy it, of course—
“Fuck!” Levi hissed. A heavy hand pressed itself onto the bulge of Levi’s pants, making his cock twitch achingly against the confines of the fabric above.
“You’re so hard already,” Eren croaked in a low voice, his fingers delicate across Levi’s increasing length.
“I can,” Eren teased. “And I am.”
“No, I mean we can’t—“
“Are you saying no?” Eren pressed, his mouth and nose mere inches away from Levi’s cock. “If you say no, I can stop.”
“It’s not that, exactly,” Levi wheezed, his words pathetic. “But I want to take things slow, Eren.”
He knew he made a mistake by opening Zeke’s email in front of Eren. He should’ve figured that Eren, in all of his jealousy, would lay claim to Levi right here in his office. Not to mention he was probably planning on this.
“It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?” Eren mused, biting gently into the supple skin of Levi’s thigh. Levi stifled a moan and fastened his good hand onto Eren’s head.
“So what,” Eren spoke, his sentence sharper than before. Levi’s heart dropped. “You don’t like doing stuff with me? Is that it?”
“No,” Levi said as sternly as he could when he felt Eren pull his wrist away from his hair. “I’m just . . .”
He had to be honest. Honest, but tactful.
“I’m . . . I’m a little apprehensive about the way we’re approaching things.”
Eren scoffed, but there was no humor to be found in his tone. “Of what? What is there to be apprehensive of?”
Levi took a breath. “I just—I don’t know, I’m scared that you might . . .”
“Might what?” Eren’s voice treaded dangerously.
“That you might lose interest once you get bored of the sex. That I might not be . . . enough.” Levi felt dumb. He was wrong saying that, but he needed to confess these feelings that have been gnawing at him since they first slept together.
There was a wall of silence.
He could feel Eren giving him an intense stare, which made him swallow with guilt. Eren’s hands were still on Levi’s thighs, unmoving as his eyes.
Eren’s brows furrowed. “Did I do something to make you think that?”
“No,” Levi answered quickly, the air rushing out his lungs. “It’s just me in my own dumb brain—“
“Then don’t fuckin’ worry about me losing interest,” Eren interrupted, making Levi sigh. “I like you, Levi. I like da—I like spending time with you and kissing you. Sorry if you think I’m just some dumb frat boy—“
“—but I am capable of feeling emotion, alright? Even though I don’t go to fucking bookstores and shit, I have a whole lot of emotions for you, so—“
“That’s not it, Eren,” Levi insisted, his voice firm. His mind raced, both exhausted and aggravated by where his words were heading. “Don’t take it there, okay? Because that is so far from the truth.”
“So what is the truth?” Eren’s voice was getting venomous. “That I’m no better than the guys that used you? I’m not good enough for you? That’s why you won’t let me suck you—“
“Stop,” Levi placed a hand on his shoulder. “Listen.”
Eren tightened his mouth into a line. His green eyes were wide, scanning Levi for anymore slip ups or mistakes from his end that he could drill him for. Levi isn’t sure if he would ever get used to Eren’s ceaseless and provocative nature.
“Can I explain myself?” Levi asked calmly.
Eren sighed. “Okay.”
“I’m not used to this, okay?” Levi admitted, in a voice that sounded more tired than he let on. “This amount of . . . attention that you’re giving me. That you’re willingly giving me.”
Eren looked confused. Levi continued. He continued like a newborn deer with new legs, but he continued nonetheless.
“You want to have sex all the time, and that’s great, I love sex with you. It’s amazing. That’s how you wish to express yourself,” Levi was rationalizing aloud. “But I’m not used to that like you are. Sex for me was . . . different for a long time. For years. It has nothing to do with you, either, but when you approach me so strongly, it’s like an alarm goes off in my brain.”
Eren’s eyes darkened. “You’re not telling me your ex husband—“
“No,” Levi insisted. “No, it was all consensual, Eren.”
Eren looked at him.
“Okay,” Eren said, still unsure.
“But it was not functional. My marriage wasn’t functional. It wasn’t healthy,” Levi began. His voice broke. Levi cleared his throat and he began talking as apathetically as he could about the situation, as if he were describing a movie he saw last weekend.
“He . . . Nile was . . . he wasn’t the warmest person around. I know Hanji can call me the Ice King and whatever, but Nile was more severe. He was callous because I wasn’t something he wanted, you know? I couldn’t give him kids, I couldn’t be his arm candy to all his work parties—I couldn’t be more than someone he could gratify himself with in private. Yes, we were married but for fuck’s sake I had two whole guests at my wedding.”
Eren listened intently and Levi continued.
“We were married because I wanted to be sure he wouldn’t leave me so easily,” Levi concluded, crossing his arms. “I pressured him because I knew he didn’t love me. He loved sex with me, with another man and that was it.”
Levi didn’t look at Eren for a reaction this time, only closing his eyes and tilting his head up towards the ceiling.
“We divorced because he was having an affair with an intern in his office. Some younger woman who knew his work life and shared his dog shit sense of humor,” Levi’s words dripped from his mouth like bitter venom. “So in the end, I wasn’t enough after all. I didn’t fulfill my purpose of fucking him good enough to keep him around.”
A silence fell between them. Levi’s heart was positively racing, having confessed these feelings and actions aloud to someone who wasn’t Hanji or Erwin was mortifying. A billion thoughts raced through his mind and he wondered if Eren might think differently, might think worse of him after this.
Eren fell, his forehead landing on the top of his thigh with dark brown hair spilling over.
“Well?” Levi nudged him with his knee.
Eren groaned. “No, I feel dumb.”
“Because Jean and Armin were right.”
“Right about what?” His voice raised with alarm.
“Well,” Eren lifted his head. “Armin says that I can come on a little strong and that-that I should be careful. And I should’ve been. I’m sorry.”
Levi couldn’t disagree with that. Though he shared some fault in engaging in sexual activities with Eren, he couldn’t he helped.
“As for Jean?” Levi asked curiously. “How is he right?”
Eren looked miserable at the mention of his brother-in-law. “He said I’m not used to being rejected. I guess that goes for like . . . sex, too. Does that make sense or am I sounding like a dick?”
Levi supposed that made sense. He couldn’t help but feel jealous. He didn’t care that Eren slept with a lot of women, not at all, but how accessible they seemed to him was something that gnawed at his stomach in an uncomfortable way.
“So you . . .”
“So I felt like total shit when you looked annoyed when I wanted to do stuff,” Eren continued. “That doesn’t happen to me. It felt like I was getting rejected by you. When I want to do stuff with you, it’s because I wanna show you how much I—“
“Like me?” Levi offered. The wires were connecting in his brain. No more did he have that annoying feeling of cross-wire in his brain, where he’d have to use scraps to draw conclusions, but rather . . .
“ . . . Yes. I didn’t know all that stuff before, so I assumed—“
“That I thought of you as some dumb kid that didn’t know what he wanted?”
“That . . . makes sense.”
“Yeah,” Eren agreed solemnly. “I feel really dumb we didn’t have this conversation earlier.”
“I do, too.”
“But it’s only natural, right?” Eren quipped. “We just—“
“How else could we have—“
“Yeah,” Levi laughed nervously.
“For pushing sex onto you,” Eren mumbled. “I was just trying to show you how much I liked you.”
“I know,” Levi acknowledged. “But don’t be. I did still enjoy it.”
Eren smiled shyly. “Well that’s . . . that’s good. I still feel like an asshole, though.”
“You’re not,” Levi assured, stroking Eren’s hair. “Don’t. I’m the one unintentionally punishing you for what he did.”
Eren huffed and shoved at Levi’s thigh playfully. “You’re not punishing me, shut the fuck up. You were in an abusive relationship.”
“Oh, how you kids these days love throwing around that word,” Levi grumbled.
Eren’s eyes flew open. “What? Don’t gaslight yourself! Abuse can be emotional and mental, Levi. He doesn’t have to hit you to leave a scar.”
Levi raised a brow, but Eren looked even more defiant. He wasn’t expecting that stroke of thoughtfulness from Eren, but it was welcomed in a new, invigorating sort of way. It brought fondness to him knowing that Eren cared. Hanji would be proud.
“I’m not some wounded kid, Eren,” Levi threw his name right back at him. “It was a shitty situation all around. God knows I wasn’t the best person to him either.”
Levi believed these words to be the truth. Of course, he was starting to forget memories of his and Nile’s marriage, but Nile wasn’t a malicious person. He had his issues, but—
Levi grit his teeth.
Damn you, Eren.
“Okay, fine,” Levi put up his hands. “Maybe it was more fucked up from his end, but still. I don’t need you feeling bad for me.”
“I’m your boyfriend, of course I’m feeling bad for you,” Eren spoke, his words lifting Levi to the ceiling. Levi’s stomach burned. Eren blushed at this.
Levi twisted a smile away, but failed. “Boyfriend, huh?”
“Yes,” Eren rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that obvious?”
“I don’t remember you asking me.”
“Oh my god—“
“I’m old fashioned, Eren,” Levi shrugged.
Eren didn’t look bothered. “Fine. I’ll ‘old fashion’ the fuck out of you. Prepare yourself.”